A question about laws and regulations on TM/CAM was included on the survey form, following the definitions established in the WHO publication Indicators for monitoring national drug policies (5). The structure and comprehensiveness of laws and regulations on TM/CAM varies from country to country; furthermore, in some Member States, while no national policy exists, laws and regulations cover different areas in TM/CAM regulation.
A law on TM/CAM was defined as the first stage of legislative procedure. It is the rule of conduct imposed by the authority. A law establishes the legal conditions under which TM/CAM should be organized in line with a national TM/CAM policy or other relevant policies. The law may cover various areas in the TM/CAM field, including education of professionals, licensing of practitioners and manufacturers, manufacture of products used in TM/CAM, sales practices, etc. Both the public and the private sector may be covered.
A regulation on TM/CAM was defined as the second stage of legislative procedure, specifically designed to provide the legal machinery required to achieve the administrative and technical goals of the law. Many activities in the field of TM/CAM may be covered by regulations, such as a description of obligations and responsibilities of licensed practitioners, the penal sanctions if these are not respected, the obligations incumbent on manufacturers of TM/CAM products, etc.
Map 2. Member States with national policies and those pending
Member States were asked whether they had a national law or regulation on TM/CAM; if the respondents replied “yes”, they were asked for the date it was issued, and if they replied “no”, they were asked whether such a law or regulation is in the process of being developed.
A minority of countries reported having laws or regulations on TM/CAM (38%, 54 countries, see Figure 3).
National laws or regulations on TM/CAM
Fifty-two Member States supplied the year of issue for laws or regulations on TM/CAM. While many Member States had developed such laws or regulations by 1987, the majority of these laws or regulations were created in the period 1988 2003 (Figure 4).
Figure 4. Number of Member States with laws or regulations on TM/CAM, by year
Map 3 indicates those Member States in which a law or regulation on TM/CAM is in place and those in which a law or regulation is in development.
Map 3. Member States with laws or regulations on TM/CAM